There has been a lot of information this week about the State’s budget. We want to clarify a few important points.
First, it’s important to remember that public services and public sector jobs are vitally important to communities across Oregon, particularly for low-wage earners, women, people of color, and immigrants – the groups hit hardest by COVID-19. The right response to COVID-19 is to protect the services and jobs our communities rely on. We learned from the last recession that budget cuts around the country made the recession worse.
Here are the key points we want to clarify.
- The cuts plans that agencies released today are not final plans. The Governor requested them so agencies are prepared. However changes in response to lost revenue will begin with the revenue forecast on May 20, followed by a special session of the State Legislature. The State is then required to bargain with our Union before any changes can be made to our contract.
- At this point, we know there is an estimated $3 billion revenue shortfall. We don’t know how much federal aid Oregon will receive or how much of our reserves will be available to mitigate cuts. We do know there will likely have to be cuts, but we are advocating that reserves and federal dollars are prioritized before cuts.
One of the most important benefits of being in Union is that when a crisis hits, we have a seat at the table where decisions are made. Your bargaining team is prepared to fight for you.
The SEIU 503 State Bargaining Team is:
Keary Debeck, Department of Justice
Mary Stewart, Department of Revenue
Doug Dryden, Oregon Youth Authority
Malika Edden Hill, Oregon Health Authority
Austin Folnagy, Employment Department
Katherine Gile, Department of Motor Vehicles
Wayne Ground, Department of Human Services
Sarah Mentzer, Oregon Housing and Community Services
Mike Scott, Department of Transportation
Dan Smith, Oregon State Hospital
Heather Blankenheim, SEIU 503 Senior Organizer
Molly Malone, SEIU 503 Public Services Director
Melissa Unger, SEIU 503 Executive Director